“The only thing constant in life is change.“
Welcome back to Chapters, the book-themed B&B run by Charlotte, who inherited from the great aunt who may or may not have been an international spy!
This time, Charlotte is hosting a book club retreat. The organisers are a little more hands-on and exacting than she usually likes, but the Alice in Wonderland theme seems to be going well. Until, of course, one of the group turns up dead at the Mad Hatter’s tea party! There are no shortages of suspects, given how many enemies the deceased seemed to have had, largely due to some very shady business practices.
What I really love about this series is how natural the involvement in the crimes is – too many mysteries force the character into occupations or situations, but here we have Charlotte with an ever-changing cast of visitors, and an obvious interest in helping solve crimes that happen on her property. More than this, I love the lack of antagonism with the actual police/detectives. Charlotte isn’t investigating against everyone’s wishes and common sense – and law! – but is in a position to hear more, and reaches out just a little from this – but everything goes back to the police, as it should. It’s refreshing, and makes for an easier read without the too-often need for eye-rolling 😉
Likewise, my usual complaints about cosy mysteries are missing here: the focus is the crime, with other elements forming a lovely, rich background. Yes, there’s romance, and helpful friends, and the business to run. But these things aren’t given too much weight compared to the investigation.
There are some fortuitous coincidences, of course, not least her neighbour the ex-spy, and her boyfriend the current… something he can’t really talk about in the government 😉
I thoroughly enjoyed the light pace that still kept me guessing with twists and turns as the mystery is unravelled. One of my new favourite cosy mystery series, I reckon!
NetGalley eARC: 304 pages / 26 chapters
First published: 7th June 2022
Series: Booklover’s B&B Mysteries book 3
Read from 11th-12th May 2022
My rating: 8/10